Continuing Tales

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 12 of 29

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Thirty-One Days

Their second kiss was less demanding, less forceful than the first. His grip slackened enough that she was able to free her arms and snake them around his neck, and his hands fell to her waist. Cautiously she licked his lips, and he responded opening his mouth and meeting his tongue to hers. The feeling was so good she forgot when and where she was as long as they were so entwined.

"Alrigh' yeh two, break it up!" a booming voice sounded as it came towards them.

Hermione, startled, backed so quickly away from Severus that she hit her head on the wall. She rubbed the spot as she turned to see Hagrid moving towards them, a concerned look on his face. Severus refused to relinquish his hold on her and looked irritated at the interruption.

"Ev'rything alrigh', Miss Puckle?" the half-giant asked.

"Yeah. Thanks, Hagrid," she muttered, moving back against the wall to create a little more room between her and Severus, feeling the blood rushing to her face.

"Time ter get back up ter the castle," he informed them.

"Right away," she nodded.

Hagrid looked at them one more time as if he were looking for some sign that Hermione was in distress, and, when he apparently decided she was okay, lumbered off towards a group of girls heading towards the Shrieking Shack.

"Let's go," Severus murmured, taking her hand and leading her back towards the main road back to the school. The sky was getting dark, they were apparently two of the last people to head back through the chilly October air towards the castle, as there were no other students in sight. They walked in silence, the only sound leaves crunching under their feet. It wasn't until they were at the steps of the castle that Severus spoke.

"Perhaps we should…" he started.

"Wait and see how this develops before making a public show?" she finished.

"Exactly," he nodded.

"I think that's for the best," she agreed.

"This will be goodnight, then?" he asked, turning her face towards his.

"Right. Goodnight," she muttered.

He drew her face forward to kiss her one more time, but the sound of laughter approaching from the group of girls ended the kiss before it became too intense.

"Thank you for the serenade," he smirked before turning and walking into the castle.

She gave him a moment, then moved to follow, but as she looked up at him his robes billowed behind him, and she stopped dead. Suddenly the young Severus was replaced by the older, surly Snape, and her world crashed back down around her. She had just kissed Snape. Yes, a younger, less hostile, more handsome version, but it was Snape nonetheless. And, if he remembered her in around twenty years, and she had no doubts that his memory was such that he would easily remember her, he would know that she had willingly kissed him. If she did as she came back to do and saved his life she would have to look at him knowing that at one point she found the man attractive enough to share a rather intimate kiss with. She found herself blushing at the very thought, but gathered herself and walked into the entrance hall and across to the Great Hall, which was buzzing with excited students talking about what had happened during their day in Hogsmeade. A few noticed her in the entrance, and clapped or cheered. Some Hufflepuffs started their own rendition of the school song as she passed, causing her to blush and hurry in for dinner.

As soon as she entered she could feel his eyes following her from the Slytherin table. She paid attention to the benches of the Ravenclaw table as she made her way down to Jennae and her classmates. Right before she sat down she chanced a look up at him- and her breath caught in her throat. She didn't see the young Severus looking at her, instead she saw her Professor's intense gaze locking with hers. Unable to move she blinked, squeezing her eyes shut longer than necessary, then opening them again. The gaze was still there, but this time it was the younger Severus behind the intense eyes. She managed a quick smile and sunk into the seat next to Jennae.

"I heard about your big performance," Selena smirked while buttering her bread.

"What are the chances of there being at least one person in this castle who hasn't heard of that?" Hermione replied, scooping potatoes on a plate.

"Slim to none," Jennae laughed.

"Fantastic," she smiled, taking a big bite.

"I heard Sirius Black thoroughly enjoyed the performance," Danielle said with a glance at the Gryffindor table.

"Sirius Black doesn't know when to quit," she replied, shaking her head.

"Come on, don't you think you ought to give him a chance? He seems so enamored with you. It doesn't hurt that he is handsome, talented, and rich…"

"And arrogant. Don't forget that little trait."

"And Severus Snape isn't arrogant?"

Hermione practically inhaled her pumpkin juice, and started coughing.

"That does look like a confirmation, doesn't it?" Selena raised an eyebrow.

"Confirmation of what, exactly?" Hermione managed.

"Come off it," Danielle said, leaning forward. "It's another not-so-well-kept secret around the castle that the two of you have been spending a lot of time together."

"And you defended him in class the other day," Selena added.

"Not to mention we're not the only ones who have seen you hand-in-hand."

"And we're kind of wondering your motivation," she finished, now leaning as far as Danielle over the table.

Hermione's mouth hung for a moment, then she managed to reply, "He is an intelligent man. We get along intellectually. I spend time with him because we are doing school work together. I feel like he can keep up with my insane schedules and demands."

Selena and Danielle looked at Jennae in unison.

"Don't you start in with her," she said quickly.

"If you're not willing to give up the information, we'll go to someone who will," Selena said.

"I'll hex you," Hermione warned Jennae.

"Do you realize how much you're giving away by threatening a friend with bodily harm?"

"Damn," she grumbled, missing Harry and Ron and their blissful ignorance of anything having to deal with her romantic life…


She quickly tried to remember the last time she thought of him in anything more than a passing sense. It had to have been before she agreed to Dumbledore's insane idea. She fought to keep a straight face as guilt washed over her. When would be the next time she saw him? What was she going to say? A lot of that depended on Severus. If he died, like she remembered him doing, their kiss, and anything that came from it, could be kept a secret. But if he lived, liked she hoped to achieve… would Snape stoop so low as to let Ron know what happened between them? He had obviously kept his mouth shut about everything up until that point, but then again she doubted he expected to survive the war. If Ron was willing to stop talking to her in their sixth year because she had snogged Viktor two years before, there was a good chance he'd never talk to her again if he found out she snogged Snape voluntarily. Okay, maybe not never, but there would definitely be silence for a few days. And could she have picked two more opposite men to develop feelings for? Ron was loud, outgoing, and had a drive to prove himself more than just the friend of Harry Potter. Severus was reserved, intelligent, confident almost to a fault, and constantly proved his magical prowess despite no one taking note other than for his arrogance. A few days ago she would have given a quick, confident answer as to which one she preferred, now she was not so sure. She should not have let Severus kiss her. She should have stopped him and said she wasn't interested in a romantic relationship. But that kiss consumed her. Every nerve in her body screamed for more, and he seemed eager to deliver. She was going to have to think of a way to let him down, things would only get complicated if she let anything more develop between them.

Selena and Danielle wanted to go to the library after dinner, but Jennae seemed to make the last-second decision not to join them. Instead she waited until they were out of the Great Hall to turn to Hermione.

"Somethings up," she said, matter-of-factly.

Hermione looked at her for a long moment, then decided she really needed a female friend to give her advice. "Alright, I'll tell you, but I have to swear you to secrecy."

"Of course," she nodded.

"Severus and I... well, we..."

She put on a knowing smile. "Did you kiss him or did he kiss you?" she asked in a hushed voice.

"He kissed me," she replied quickly. "But I didn't fight it."

"Did you like it?"

"Yes," she replied in a whisper, feeling color flooding her face.

"So what's the problem?"

She sighed. "Where to start? I'm not here forever, and I'm not sure if I could carry on a relationship long-distance. I wasn't aware that he had any kind of those feelings towards me. And, to tell the truth, I'm in a somewhat complicated relationship back home."

Her eyes narrowed. "What kind of relationship?"

"Well, I kissed another boy just a few hours before leaving for here. I've liked this boy for a long time, and we had an emotionally-charged moment, and I just sort of kissed him. But we had no chance to sit down and talk about our relationship after then. I had to leave somewhat suddenly."

"Do you like this other boy?"

"Yeah, I do."

"In the same way you like Severus?"

"No. They aren't anything like each other."

"I kind of know enough about Severus, so let me know a little about the other boy."

"He's..." she came up short, surprised at the adjectives that were springing to her lips. Ron was a good friend, but away from the battle and the uncertainty she started to realize that their relationship wasn't sounding so promising. She could deal with a lot of Ron's shortcomings as his friend, since they could stop talking to each other for a while and let things cool off, it wouldn't be so simple as a couple, especially if things progressed to the point where they were living together. Ron had damaged her trust in him when he left her alone with Harry. He had proven time and again he would hold something against her without even telling her what it was. He had put Quidditch before their friendship before. He ridiculed her curiosity and her drive. It was a little unsettling how possessive he got of her before they were even a couple. And, of everyone she knew, he made her cry more often than anyone else. Most of the time their friendship was repaired by Harry, and it wasn't fair to him to turn into a reluctant relationship counselor. Their relationship shouldn't be started in the damaged corridor of Hogwarts mid-battle. Life-altering decisions should not be made when one's focus should be more on surviving the next few hours, as it's a lot easier to live in the moment and not the long-term when death is staring you in the face.

Jennae was looking at her expectantly, so she continued. "He's not the man I thought he was a few days ago," she admitted softly. "Thinking about it, what we've been through in the past should have been every warning I need to realize that we make better friends than lovers."

"And what about Severus?"

Hermione buried her face in her hands. "The more I get to know him, the more I realize he's the type of man I can see myself falling for."

"Seems like the choice is clear," she pointed out.

"But what happens when I leave?"

"If it's meant to be it'll work out."

Her jaw dropped slightly, and she quickly excused herself, saying she wanted to get some reading done before bed. But instead she hurried back to Ravenclaw. She changed into her bedclothes and sat in her bed, drawing the curtains around her for privacy. How could she even think of letting things get further with Severus? Wasn't she going to hurt him enough by turning him down after being so open to being with him? How could she even consider moving things forward when she had a little over two weeks before she disappeared, not to re-enter the wizarding world for nearly two decades? It was cruel and selfish of her to even think about letting things get any further. She started planning what she was going to say to Severus, blaming the emotionally charged moment for what happened, and that she wanted to stay good friends, but that she just wasn't ready for any kind of romantic relationship. She fell asleep with a pit in her stomach, knowing the words she had to speak, but also knowing that her heart really wasn't in it.

She woke up the next morning to the sound of someone banging on the dormitory door. She opened her eyes, finding the room already filled with light, indicating it was later in the morning than she would usually sleep in. She sat up, and heard Danielle answering the door.

"I'm supposed to give this to Hermione Puckle," she heard the familiar voice of a fifth-year girl who was known for reading her notes aloud in the common room.

"I'll give it to her," Danielle assured her. She took something from the girl, and closed the door. She stretched as Danielle tossed the folded piece of paper on her bed. Hermione snatched it up and unfolded it carefully.

If you would like to work on our potions assignment in a more private area, meet me at ten-thirty at the painting of the two giraffes on the second floor.


She smiled and checked her watch, and swore as she realized that she had only half an hour. She took a quick shower, charmed her hair into a braid, threw on her clothes, and rushed down the stairs. At exactly ten thirty she rounded the second floor corner, to see Severus looking anxiously at his watch.

"Sorry," she panted, as she came level with him. "I was having a bit of a lie-in."

"I thought you might be, since I didn't see you at breakfast," he murmured, scanning the corridor. "Come on."

He grabbed her hand and guided her down the stairs, past the potions room, to a corridor she had walked by several times, but never actually went down. He checked one more time to make sure the coast was clear, then tapped the wall with his wand. The stone parted, and he pulled her inside into a small room filled with a large table and shelves of potions ingredients.

"Wow," she breathed as the stone slid closed behind her. "Did you find this by yourself?"

"Slughorn showed it to me, when he was sick of having to spend extra time in his classroom as I practiced. It's a bit of a Slytherin secret. Legend has it Slytherin himself used this room, though not for potions."

"Do I want to know what for?" she asked.

"Mistresses are not uncommon for Slytherin men, especially if one is in an arranged marriage," he replied with a smirk. "Do you like it?"

"Like it?" she smiled in awe as she turned to him. "It's wonderful. I wish I had a place like this to work on potions."

"You're welcome to join me," he murmured. "I'll have to let you in, Slughorn has it so only his wand and mine can open the door." His hand had found hers, drawing her slowly in, and she swallowed hard. She tried to remember the words she had practiced in her head the last night, but they escaped her as her heart pounded in her chest and she leaned towards him in anticipation. It was not a long wait, as seconds later his head dipped, and his lips gently met hers. She sighed as her body relaxed against his, her fingers running up his robes to come to a rest on his chest. As her mind began to go fuzzy she inhaled, and could smell at least half a dozen different potions ingredients on him, and she found their scent intoxicating. His arms settled on her hips, pulling her into him, as his tongue ran across her bottom lip, asking for access she happily gave him. It was a long moment before they parted, and she slowly opened her eyes to look up into his. A smile crossed her face as she realized this was one of the times his eyes were soft enough for her to spot the shoots of brown in them. She chuckled and smiled, deciding that she wouldn't be able to break what they had off. They were already in too deep.

"What?" he asked softly, sounding slightly concerned, and she realized he was misinterpreting her chuckle.

"Just... nervous," she admitted.

"About what?" he asked softly, a smile tugging at his lips.

"I just don't know what to do with you, Severus," she replied with as playful smile.

His raised an eyebrow and looked as though he were holding something back, but when he talked all he said was, "Ready to study antivenins?"

She nodded, sitting next to him and opening a book up. But she found she couldn't concentrate on the work. Severus had started working on the practical, and she found herself mesmerized by his movements. He took such care with everything, every movement fluid, nothing wasted. It was hypnotic, and something she doubted very many people would see it for the true beauty it was, like he had said in their very first potion class.

"Enjoying the view?" he asked some time later, as he turned the antivenin down to simmer and looked up at her.

"Immensely," she replied unabashedly.

He smiled, truly smiled, softening his facial features and making him finally look as young as he really was. It was the most attractive she had ever seen him, and she felt her lower abdomen start to flutter with a hint of desire.

"How is the essay going?" he asked, sitting next to her.

"I haven't done anything new," she admitted, digging in her bag. "But I do have the part about properties done. I started into storage, if that helps."

"At least you're not being completely useless."

She scoffed and crossed her arms, determined not to smile.

"Hermione," he smirked, reading her perfectly.

"Fine. I'll prove how worthless I am by starting on dosage. How much do you weigh?"

"Why the hell would you want to know that?" he asked suspiciously.

"Because I'm half-tempted to inject you with a venom to do some testing, and I figured I should know proper dosage."

He laughed. "If you poison me, I think that's about a month's worth of detentions. Do you really want to be un-working knots for the next few weeks?"

"Don't tempt me. It's looking more worth it by the second," she smirked.

"I am just going to have to get rid of that temptation," he murmured, moving closer to her and sliding a hand up her back, winding it into her hair, and pulling her to him for a long, slow kiss. This time she melted against him, but it was over before she was ready, and her neck craned to meet his, but she wasn't able to re-connect with him. She let off a huff of disappointment.

"Temptation gone?" he asked.

"Nearly," she muttered, moving forward again to kiss him. A few seconds later they pulled apart again, and she smirked as if she was considering things. "I guess the temptation is gone now."

"Good," he replied. "Because there's no way I'm telling you how much I weigh. You're just going to have to base it on your weight."

"Watch your mouth," she grumbled.

They worked the rest of the day, only leaving when dinner was served and Hermione couldn't ignore her rumbling stomach any longer. They shared one more quick kiss before leaving the room, then walked together to the Great Hall. After sharing a few glances during dinner she mouthed 'good night' to him before returning to Ravenclaw tower to her bed. As she showered that night she counted that she had seventeen days left, and wondered if getting so close to Severus might not be such a bad idea after all.

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 12 of 29

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